|Wednesday, 25 July 2012 06:00|
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National pro-Christian fast food corporation Chick-Fil-A has recently come under fire for its unapologetic anti-gay stance, even being publicly dissed by Jim Henson's studio for it. Now Chick Fil-A's been busted for (allegedly) trying to lie their way out of it and creating artificial internet sock puppets on Facebook to rally support on their behalf. The resulting debacle may be incontrovertible proof of intelligent design: only a supreme cosmic engineer could envision a public relations fail so absolute. I bet for every new disparaging comment being posted to the Chick Fil-A Facebook timeline, a distant star must burn out just to balance the amount of wasted chicken-sandwich potential in the universe.
Social media centers like Facebook have long been seeded with fake accounts posing as people, musicians, artists, etc., posting streams of pictures guaranteed to gather "likes"-- religious pics, cute animal pics, political slogan pics-- then using those "likes" to infiltrate private friends lists. Corporate advertisers purposely grow huge networks of interconnected accounts to further monetize their services as an ever-more-powerful advertising tool. Register a thousand free email addresses, create a thousand bogus Facebook accounts; that's lot of "likes" and "shares" to sell.
One corporation that is failing in that game is Klout. Klout creates a popularity (and "employability") score for social media users based on such online interaction as how often one tweets. The results are ridiculous: Big Ben, for instance (yes, the famous clock tower bell in London) has an automated Twitter account set to tweet a "bong" every hour on the hour. From this, Klout awards the clock a popularity score of 72, judging it "influential" and "knowledgeable on such topics as drugs, Miley Cyrus, cheese, and crikey." I personally think the whole thing scores a perfect ten on the Mr. T "Fool be talkin' jibba jabba" scale. But I hear some employers are even starting to use Klout scores when interviewing potential new hires! WTF?
The only way to directly influence the system and punish the most blatant media manipulators is to hit them where it hurts: in the wallet. If we don't shop at Walmart, if we don't watch TV reality crap or wildly skewed news infotainment, these things must change or else go away. If we refuse to kowtow to the cult of celebrity, dangerously unstable people won't be so desperate to carve their Warholian 15 minutes out of the lives of innocent victims in some darkened midnight theater. If we refuse to vote for the same tired political agendas, they change or else they get replaced. Except it's not easy to convince our intractable society to recognize and treat our carefully cultivated, commercially-targeted media/product addictions before we completely devolve into a culture of ignorant, obese sociopaths.
Especially when many of the most trusted figures in our media would read what I write here and assure everyone I am absolutely a crackpot loon for even implying any of that is true. They would then go and cash their checks from Clear Channel, Sony, or News Corp without a care in the world. And why not? They know who their masters are.
NOTE: This edition of The Grype formally marks our 1 year anniversary. Now that Grype has finally unleashed the results of the Kaminsky ad campaign against the world, it's definitely going to take the rest of the summer for us to clean up the mess. We'll return in September to explore the aftermath and find out whether or not Grype has finally managed to get himself fired.
We hope you've enjoyed our first year as much as we have! Fave artist/musician Amanda Palmer deleted our (sincere) loving tribute comic off her Facebook account as spam, we've now officially achieved 6 followers on Twitter, and not a single t-shirt has been sold to date. We're definitely going places!