Find an article that exhibits social media goneThe example of a social media gone wrong that resonates with me the most is the JP Morgan #AskJPM gaffe. JP Morgan who started the twitter hashtag #AskJPM to encourage their customers to ask them questions. They tweeted “He’s been a part of Wall St.’s biggest deals @Dell, @GM. $JPM Vice Chairman Jimmy Lee take over @JPMorgan on 11/14 #AskJPM” (Zeitlan, 2013). This Twitter conversation proved to be an epic fail. The #AskJPM hashtag was taken over by the public who berated JP Morgan for their mortgage practices, unethical management and business practices. In the end, JP Morgan cancelled the Q&A session stating, “Tomorrow’s Q&A is cancelled. Bad idea. Back to the drawing board” (Zeitlan, 2013). They haven’t launched a similar series since (Barak & Pavelski, 2013). The reason why #AskJPM was such a debacle is because it demonstrates that the company wasn’t truly in engaging with their audience, they simply wanted to use social media as another channel to sell their products. They were unauthentic in their desire to engage the public. JP Morgan wanted to guide the discussion towards their executive spouting career advice and using a public platform to promote their own agenda, however consumers took it over and created their own agenda. Rather than engagement, they simply wanted to promote their own story and ideals.
This is a powerful example of how the power has shifted. The reason why I think the JP Morgan Twitter incident was an epic fail is represented in what McNeil (2013) says, “it isn’t enough to merely project your identity: you must have a symbiotic relationship with and within other projections” (p. 32). JP Morgan was simply projecting an image that the desired to portray without taking into consideration how they are perceived by others. They didn’t have a symbiotic relationship with the projections that others perceived of the company. McNeil (2013) goes on to say, “through online projection, you bring forth your identity,” (p. 32). JP Morgan wanted to bring forth their identity as a leader in the financial services industry, but they didn’t want to engage in a true dialogue. Companies get it wrong when they view social media as a marketing strategy rather than a tool for engaging in a true dialogue with consumers.
McNeill (2013) examines the relationship between speed and media and defines speed as “cutting through the red tape of gatekeepers, program directors, and all the intermediaries that prohibit media exposure” (McNeill, 20130, p.29). In my as a communications manager, I am the gatekeeper and the “red tape” between the company and the public. I help craft the messaging to ensure we are telling our story in the channels that resonate with our public. However, given the desire for speed and “cutting through the red tape” others desire to get out on social media without engaging the communications team. They view communications as a gatekeeper and roadblock rather than a business enabler. This causes quite a bit of challenge, as those in the business often don’t understand the implications f what they say on social media. As communicators, we have to keep our finger on the pulse of not only our story as a company, but what others perceive of the company as well. If we do this well, we can avoid social media debacles, such as the one with JP Morgan.
McNeil (2013) also says that ego and narcissism act as motivators for projecting an online identity. I agree completely and I feel that social media perpetuates a society in which we are becoming more narcissistic. Web 2.0 puts us in a constant state of sharing information that is germane to us and seeking feedback. This creates an unrealistic, virtual world in which content revolves around us. I believe that Twitter creates an environment of performing. I see this in the unfortunate situation of Amanda Bynes. Amanda Bynes is an American actress who became popular on Nickelodeon in the late 1990s and early 2000s (Weaver, 2014). Amanda uses Twitter to both perform and project her image to the public. She tweeted in April 2013 “Only use photos from my twitter when writing an article about me” (Bynes, 2014). Amanda also uses Twitter to post bizarre selfies, statements to attract sympathy and accusations of her family and friends. Social media provides her with a platform to both perform and project her identity. McNeil (2013) would describe both Amanda and the audience who follows her as an ethno-projected community.
Question: Do you agree that social media creates a narcissistic society?
Barak, N. and Pavelski, J. (2013, December 31). New York Post. The worst social media blunders of 2013. Retrieved from http://nypost.com/2013/12/31/worst-social-media-blunders-of-2013/
McNeill, S.J. (2013). Concepts in new media. Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions.
Bynes, A. [@AmandaBynes]. (2014, April 5). “Only use photos from my twitter when writing an article about me.” [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/amandabynes
Weaver, C. (2014, April 5). What the hell is going on with Amanda Bynes: A treatise. Gawker. Retrieved from http://gawker.com/5993761/what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-amanda-bynes-a-treatise