Posts Tagged ‘Conversation’

Are ‘Likes’ Great or do they Suck?

Posted on: September 7th, 2011 by Fransgaard 1 Comment

This blog was sparked by a conversation with Lindsay FutterIan Feather and Ionnis Selimas about how the social function “Like”does not always convey the intended message.

We’ve all been there: A Facebook friend (most-likely male) post something like: “I am so incredibly ill today :-( “.

What do you do? You can’t be bothered writing anything to him (as you know how man-flu works) but at the same time you want to acknowledge the pain he is going through. So you hit the “Like” button.

So now you like your friend being ill… hang on… that wasn’t quite the intention, but you are limited in your tools. What can you do?

The “Like” function is being adopted widely as a fast-food way of conveying emotions but is it actually sufficient?

“Suck” or “Great”  is the only rating people are interested in anymore.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of seeing the comedy legend that is Jerry Seinfeld in the o2 here in London.

He was amazing, but one performance stood out for me; His Suck” and “Great” routine which proves you can react to everything with either that Sucks or that’s Greatas they actually cover just about any emotional response you will ever need in a flash.

Isn’t that the same as “Like” and “unLike”? not really. “Like” conveys a positive acknowledgement, but “unLike” isn’t the opposite response but rather a way of removing a previous acknowledgement. In other words; it is a function not an emotional response.

To add to the confusion “Like”, as a function, also serves different purposes on different networks. Some places it is to show appreciation, other places it is a way of following content to be notified of updates and yet other places it is used by the users to show they have read a piece of content regardless of whether they like it or not.

And that is at the heart of the problem. “Like” has become a function with an ambiguous definition whereas Jerry’s Suck and Great are emotional responses that in a conversional fashion clearly indicates how I as a person feel about the content I am reacting to, whether positive or negative.

Social Networks thrive on the positive but that is only one side of our lives. it is easy to “Friend” somebody but how do you gracefully “unFriend” them?

Maybe implementing Jerry’s Suck and Great responses will not only bring natural conversation back into the flow but also give us the fast food option to accurately convey the full spectrum of our emotions.

How to do social media: Microsoft vs Madame Moi

Posted on: March 16th, 2011 by Fransgaard 1 Comment

Microsoft and Madame Moi doesn’t have a lot in common.

Microsoft is a big company; Madame Moi is small.

One deals in fashion the other sells microsoft products (guess who).

…and one gets social media right.

This article is not about Microsoft or Madame Moi as such. You could replace Microsoft with most other big companies and you could replace Madame Moi with an increasing number of young entrepeneurs. But recent the online behaviour of  both Microsoft and Madame Moi in relation to the earthquake disaster in Japan makes them a good example for this article.

Both tried to help the situation in Japan… in hope of positive sentiment from the social web.

Microsoft via Bing posted a tweet asking people to retweet and in return Microsoft would donate $1. It created a backlash.

Madame Moi launched a YouTube video urging people to buy some of her items of which the proceedings would go to Red Cross. So far I’ve only seen a positive response.

Why did one work while the other failed? One isn’t better or worse than the other.

But the way I see it it really comes down to 3 things:

  • Company size
  • Long-term and personal engagement with customers
  • Giving before receiving

Company Size

Had Madame Moi been as big as microsoft she would probably have suffered the same backlash. But size matters in social. The smaller your company is, the more genuine you come across. Big companies almost instantly attracts critics with a syndical view on everything they do. But smaller companies are easier to emphasize with.

That doesn’t mean large companies cannot create the same emotional environment but they have to create a scaled-down, simplified presence of the company. For example Richard Branson is the scaled down version of Virgin. While we may hate Virgin’s faceless customer service we still think Richard’s an alright guy.

Long-term and personal engagement with customers

Many who saw the Bing tweet have no regular interaction with microsoft as a company. So the tweet was read out of context of all the other good things Microsoft do.

Madame Moi’s tweet mainly reached her social sphere of  customers and supporters. They may follow her across her other social profiles as well. They know what she is like as a person and company. They are familiar with how she behaves mixing her personal life with the occasional marketing pokes here and there.

But above all they’ve seen her do this type of charity before and know she genuinely wants to help. They have a personal relationship to the company through her personality.

Giving before receiving

Social is about giving before receiving.

Had Microsoft had just donated $100,000 they would probably have received the retweets the wanted plus they would have mainly been positive. But they didn’t. They expected us to do something before they would commit.

They also made it clear that they were only willing to follow their customers engagement to a certain point namely max $100,000 which in the grand scheme of things doesn’t seem like a lot. So even if you did retweet the Bing tweet, Microsoft may not reciprocate.

Madame Moi is different. She invested time and effort in tweeting about the disaster and create the youtube video. For a small company this is a lot of effort and people, whether they are in marketing or not, appriciate this effort as it comes across as being sincere.


Next time you look for inspiration take a break from the big companies and how they do social and look to the new entrepreneurs and small companies out there run by digital natives who live in the social web.

Madame Moi’s Japan appeal

Has forums played their part in the online conversation?

Posted on: March 30th, 2010 by Fransgaard 1 Comment


I was recently invited to a Japanese Linkedin Group (in English) and it struck me at the time that I don’t really use forums outside LinkedIn anymore.

However, maybe the change is deeper than I first realised.

After joining the group there have been a few posts on the forum, but I’ve had more response via direct messages/emails and I’ve now connected with a few from the group via Skype. 

For me Skype has previously been a tool to communicate to people I know in real life, but this experience connecting with people throughout the world via the Japanese LinkedIn forum is not a stand alone incident.

More and more I find I communicate with people around the globe via all sorts of means, but less and less frequently on forums, it is like forums have become slow and cumbersome compared to a quick Skype chat.

But instant messaging seems to lack the breadth of various topics and the ability to search and capture discussions.

Maybe that is where Google Wave steps in; it has the history functionality of forums, but the speed of instant messaging…