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A short story, translated into social media

Two versions of the same story…

English language version

Lucy gave Matt a call. ‘Hey, do you fancy coming out with Ed and me for a drink?’ she asked. ‘Yeah, how about the Dog and Duck?’ Matt said. He needed a good drink as he’d just had a big row with his wife. She’d been giving him a right earful and nothing he could say seemed to calm her down. Plus he was trying to watch the football. Why didn’t she ever give it a rest?

So the three mates went to their local boozer and chatted away like there was no tomorrow. Ed was on great form and Matt had all the gossip. Some of it was hot stuff, and Lucy couldn’t wait to tell the girls at work.

After a while, Ed suggested they make it a pub crawl. They all agreed this was a sound idea. Lucy went to the bar to get the next round. ‘Do you want some crisps?’ Lucy shouted over. ‘Nice one!’ Matt responded.

In the next pub – a total dive – a lady came over who was collecting for charity. Matt said no, but Ed gave her a pound. The lady thanked him and gave Ed a little sticker. Matt had a change of heart, and dropped in 50p.

After a few more beers, Ed was starting to slur his words and had his beer goggles on. Lucy was looking gorgeous. He thought he might try his luck. She was the perfect woman, but how to seduce her? He was talking nonsense and swearing a lot. Matt and Lucy weren’t understanding much of it at all.

Lucy could see what was on Ed’s mind, but she knew what he was like. He was certainly an attractive guy, but a total womaniser. Not tonight love, she thought.

Social media language translation

Lucy connected with Matt using a realtime audio messaging app. ‘Hey, do you fancy launching an engaged geotargeted community to leverage our social graph’s motivation to seek rewards centred around alcohol?’ she seeded.

The Dog and Duck emerged as a viable platform. Matt was motivated to migrate to a new community space, since missz.com (which he had ‘liked’ eight years ago, and was generally loyal to, although the level of page interaction, dwell time and other meaningful engagement metrics had certainly declined) was spamming him with poorly optimised content, leading to a sharp increase in negative sentiment. Plus he was trying to watch the footy. Missz.com’s brand strategy was very 1.0 and tactical, broadcasting key messages rather than seeking a more two-way, permission-based dialogue which could lead to mutually positive outcomes. Where was missz.com’s listening strategy? It appeared that she didn’t have one in place at all.

So the three connections checked in at the social space and began organically generating viral content like there was no tomorrow. Ed was great at amplifying his brand stories and Matt was acting as an aggregator of local gossip. Some of these memes were really resonating, and Lucy couldn’t wait to distribute the most compelling and shareable content among her own target influencers in a collaborative environment.

Ed could see that the community they had created was sustainable and he felt it might be effective to introduce an element of gamification to the engagement strategy, making it more location-based and helping to create a narrative that would be shareable after the initial campaign buzz had subsided. Matt set up a wiki and the community quickly authenticated the idea. Ed felt this was truly a best-practice case study of a bottom-up crowdsourcing process leading to validated insight. He Tumblogged about it while Lucy went to get the next round. ‘Shall we integrate crisps into this phase?’ Lucy shouted over. ‘Beer and crisps – nice mashup!’ Matt responded.

In the next niche social environment – ‘Myspace’ – a lady was distributing beta invites for her crowdfunding initiative. Mike wasn’t convinced about the ROI, but Ed had been reading up on random acts of kindness and handed over a quid. In return he unlocked a badge and the lady liked his status. Matt sought social proof to validate his decision, and dropped in 50p.

After a few more beers the conversation was becoming unmoderated and Ed’s reality was becoming augmented. Had Lucy updated her avatar? He pondered an outreach strategy. Her profile seemed complete, but he didn’t know how to leverage all this attention to deliver his campaign objectives. He was posting much too frequently and using an awful lot of hashtags. Matt and Lucy were having a hard job curating it all.

Lucy could see Ed was looking for a deeper level of interaction, but suspected he was only hoping to notch up another like on his wall. ‘That’s the trouble with a one-to-many engagement programme,’ she thought. ‘If I follow you now, you’ll only be after another fan in the morning.’ Sure, he was highly embeddable, and he’d certainly acquired a significant number of advocates with his multichannel strategy, but she had to manage her online reputation.



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  1. Pippa Norris 05/05/2011 at 8:21 am #

    Hilarious and excellent! I was expecting something incredibly short, but was spoilt by a quick, insightful and comprehensive trot through the minefield that is my life.

    • adamcranfield 05/05/2011 at 8:48 am #

      Too kind, Pippa, too kind!

      • BettyLaVerne 13/05/2011 at 4:31 pm #

        This is great! You have captured the new lingo, and proven it is all BS! Excellent!

  2. Dick Baynham 07/05/2011 at 4:46 am #

    Less is always more.

  3. Santhan 10/05/2011 at 3:33 am #

    Legendary! I thoroughly enjoyed this. Nothing like scrumptious creative writing before signing off for the night 😉

  4. Stuart G. Hall 14/05/2011 at 1:06 pm #

    Nice Adam, I’m gonna share this with my mate Steven in Brisbane (CA) who keeps teasing me about going to the pub! Cheers, Stuart

  5. Scott Douglas 16/05/2011 at 9:08 am #

    Bemoaning social media gurus/advisers has become almost as tiresome as the overues of ‘leverage’, ‘traction’, ‘engagment’ and all the other social media bullshit bingo phrases.

    So I expected the worst when I clicked over to read this piece.

    Delighted to say this is genuinely funny, wryly observed and, as we used to say in the old parlance, a right good read!

    Thanks for making me laugh out loud.


    • adamcranfield 16/05/2011 at 9:24 am #

      Thanks Scott – I agree the guru-bashers are now as passé as the gurus themselves! I’m torn myself – I have a love-hate relationship with the lingo and the hype. It’s affectionate piss-taking.

      • Mike Ritchie 16/05/2011 at 10:04 am #

        This, as my chum Scott Douglas rightly says,is a “right good read.”

        When you wrote that Matt and Lucy were having a “hard job curating it all” I hooted. Brilliant.

        As a strong advocate for plain English and a jargon-free writing, this is an impressive, very amusing and carefully-crafted item: worth many a re-read, Adam.

        • Adam Cranfield 16/05/2011 at 11:27 am #

          Thanks Mike. By the way – which terms should I have added? If people help me with a list I might update the story with a few more!

          I think I’d like to squeeze in:
          – immersive
          – cut-through
          – traction

          …what else?

      • Mike Ritchie 16/05/2011 at 10:05 am #

        This, as my chum Scott Douglas rightly says,is a “right good read.”

        When you wrote that Matt and Lucy were having a “hard job curating it all” I hooted. Brilliant.

        As a strong advocate for plain English and jargon-free writing, this is an impressive, very amusing and carefully-crafted item: worth many a re-read, Adam.

  6. Simon Hamer 22/05/2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Understood the first version, fell asleep in the second … lol.


  7. Andrew Palmer 22/05/2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Quality, brave and real – keep it that way, I have tweeted this too…

  8. Wftristan 24/10/2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Good One, I have retweeted a link to this, made me smile on what is a really dull day in Devon


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