Link roundup – October 18, 2011

  1. Take This Lollipop
    – The second best – and CREEPIEST – Facebook based campaign I’ve seen. Awesome experience-
  2. Mika Lagreen’s Photos | Facebook
    – Straight people living in relationships are obviously very unhappy, if shit like this is “funny”
  3. iPhone 4S vs. Samsung Galaxy S II Drop Test – YouTube
    – Samsung Galaxy vs iPhone 4S in a drop test. Brilliant shareable content by insurance agency
  4. Go Where? Sex, Gender, and Toilets » Sociological Images
    – Sex, gender and toilets. Some of these signs are laughable, some are just sad  (via @filip)
  5. iPhone 4S Sales Top 4 Million in the First Weekend
    – The nay-sayers were wrong about iPhone 4S. It sold 4 million units the first weekend.
  6. Cracking the credit code
    – What all the numbers on your credit card mean [infographic]
  7. Contrex – Ma Contrexpérience – 97s – YouTube
    – Ad for water that would have been totally awesome had it not felt so set up and contrived
  8. who killed videogames? (a ghost story) | insert credit
    – A story explaining why games are getting more addictive and less fun.
  9. Is your ego in the way of your success? (Your people might think so) | SmartBlog on Leadership
    – Leadership: if employees are afraid to speak their mind you get 5.8% lower shareholder return
  10. Word as Image – YouTube
    – Mission: illustrate a word, using only that word. Result: Awesome: http://t.co/YSStFC9i
  11. The Reddit Invasion | Sortable
    – Infographic explaining why Reddit is so big, lovable and why you should care (via @joinsimon)
  12. Google Translate with Conversation Mode – YouTube
    – If you say that this is the babel fish that Douglas Adams wrote about, are you saying that Google is God?
  13. Twitter study (PDF)
    – Wow! 70% of companies ignore customer complaints on Twitter [research]
  14. A Magazine Is an iPad That Does Not Work.m4v – YouTube
    – The death of printed magazines and newspapers, illustrated.
  15. Do Yourself a Favor: Set Up These Custom Typing Shortcuts on Your iPhone Right Now
    – Keyboard shortcuts in iOS5. E.g. type “brb” and your iPhone corrects it to “be right back” (hat tip @forsgren)
  16. Nicki Minaj Sings ‘Super Bass’ with Sophia Grace (Full Version) – YouTube
    – Little girl meets Nicki Minaj. TEH HAPPINESS <3! See this without smiling. I dare you!
  17. Google Engineer Accidentally Posts Rant About Google+
    – Ouch. Interesting read, though. (via @zackrisson)
  18. White woman ‘gives birth to black child’ after watching black porn star on 3D TV | Information, Gadgets, Mobile Phones News & Reviews | News.com.au
    – Have we reached the state where people think that it’s automatically true because it’s funny? See also the Betty White “vaginas get pounded”-joke meme that wasn’t made by Betty White.
  19. One Million Backers » The Kickstarter Blog — Kickstarter
    – Amazing. Kickstarter reached 1 million backers and $ 84 million in successful projects so far
  20. A conversation with Siri on the iPhone 4S – YouTube
    – Video of live test of Siri/iPhone 4S. It understands Yoda-speak. Also: damnyousiri is the new damnyouautocorrect

Booth babes, douche bags and how the internet never forgets

One of the biggest reasons companies are afraid of social media is fear of negativity. While the fear is real, the grounds for it are wrong. As someone once said, “social media doesn’t create negativity, it puts a magnifying glass to it”. Another reason is that marketers and managers are afraid of making mistakes. A mistake can stick with you for a long time, right?

Right, but only if you’re handling things like MSI a douche bag.

MSI Europe will be present at Dreamhack Winter 2011, the world’s largest digital festival. Dreamhack Winter 2010 had 13 608 visitors, and 12 754 computers connnected to their network. Dreamhack is about everything internet and computer related and the expo is a great place for companies who want to target geeks, gamers and gadget collectors.

Someone at MSI had the awful idea to have “booth babes”. Awful, because Sweden is one of the world’s most progressive countries when it comes to gender equality. It’s not equal, it’s just better than most other countries. A fact that in itself doesn’t say a lot considering how common gender inequality is.

The awful idea was made even more awful by hosting a competition, where girls who wanted to compete were asked to send in photos of themselves on Facebook and get the most likes. Now, you might think “but couldn’t a booth babe be a guy?”. Not according to MSI, who on their page stated that “Preference goes to girls who already reside in Scandinavia […]”.

The awful came back and bit MSI in their more intelligent parts when most of the comments both on Facebook and on their own homepage turned out to be all but supportive of the booth babe stunt. Of the 54 comments their blog post got before it was taken down, 37 were negative. Topsy.com lists a lot of reactions, few of which are neutral and even fewer positive. I’m sure most companies do not want #sexism and #fuckoffboothbabes to be related to tweets about their brand.

MSI themselves only replied to one of the comments. By posting the video to the lap dance contest with the booth babes during Dreamhack in 2010, saying “we also have man on man lapdancing”. I would have given them props for trying to handle the situation -even if it was like dousing a fire by throwing gasoline at it – if I thought this had been an attempt at salvaging the situation. I don’t think it was.

In the end, MSI picked a “winner”, but not without a tang of bitterness about the reactions (they obviously still thought that this idea was brilliant)

MSI Europe chose a winner in their booth babes competition. Can you spot the bitterness?
MSI Europe chose a winner in their booth babes competition. Can you spot the bitterness?

So where did MSI go wrong? Obviously they didn’t see the idea backfiring like this. And everyone can have a bad idea. The big mistake here  isn’t actually hosting the “booth babe” competition. Neither is the problem lack of action: MSI obviously heard the criticism and responded by deleting both the blog post on their site, and the Facebook post with all the comments. The problem is that MSI never tried to understand why people were upset, and tried to stop the conversation by deleting the content. However, the internet doesn’t forget easily. Google has a cache of MSI’s blog post, and when Google’s cache expires this screenshot will still exist. Xboxflickan.se has a screenshot of the Facebook post with all comments.

What should MSI have done instead? First of all, they should have read up on the Facebook guidelines. This competition would have been closed down by Facebook, considering the attention it got and the fact that it violates Facebook’s rules about competitions and sweepstakes.

Second, they should have listened to the criticism and responded to it. People on the internet tend to be forgiving if you acknowledge your mistakes and act to correct them. In this case a simple blog post explaining how they understand that the idea was bad, and that they chose to close down the competition. To spin this into a positive thing, I would have the team at MSI (and I dare say that it’s a team of men) that came up with the idea dress up as “booth babes” at Dreamhack.

Unfortunately, MSI will never understand what went wrong and why, if you read their comment on this fan made photo (in case the photo is taken down, here’s a screen shot – hat tip to @tesas for the tip about this).  There’s a huge opportunity for good PR for MSI’s competitors, both in digital channels and at Dreamhack.

EDIT: MSI finally issued an official apology on their Facebook page. Note that they’re not sorry for objectifying women or using booth babes – they’re sorry for introducing the contest. This can easily be understood as “we’re going to keep using booth babes”. The problem is that it’s not the competition that’s upsetting. It’s the actual thing. For those of you who don’t understand the deal with booth babes, read this explanation.

Apology from MSI Europe for having the booth babe competition
Apology from MSI Europe for having the booth babe competition

Turkey blocks Bambuser


It’s interesting to observe how countries, organizations and people handle digital channels.

Turkey is trying to clean up their act when it comes to basic human rights in order to get into the EU. They lose a lot of credibility in this endeavor when they in the digital sphere seem to be closer to China than to EU. Jocke Jardenberg notices that Turkey is blocking Swedish streaming service Bambuser that can be used to stream video from your mobile or laptop camera.

You could argue that it’s happening in Europe as well; Sweden, for example, has a nationwide filter that is run by the police. This filter is supposedly used to block out sites containing child pornography, but has also been used to block The Pirate Bay on allegations that it contains child pornography. I’m not condoning piracy, but I find it hard to credibly criticize Turkey when we have some arbitrary blocking of information in Sweden too – and here it happens without court orders.

Having said that,  there is a difference in severity between blocking services that anyone freely can use to express their opinion, and blocking torrent search engines. Bambuser has been a part of the toolkit that helped the protesters during the Arab Spring.

(Original post in Swedish over at Jocke’s blog)