Sunday, January 23, 2011

Toaster Chicken, the Galaxy, and the Perks of Being Social With Social Media

I recently came across these in the supermarket:

Two words that should never go together are toaster and chicken. So of course I bought a box, and was soon obsessed with toaster chicken; mostly because "toaster chicken" is so fun to say, but also because FlatJacks are surprisingly good, in a chicken nugget sort of way.

For me, Twitter is about the unfiltered sharing of your life. With toaster chicken now so deeply intertwined with my life, it got mentioned several times in my Twitter feed. A beautiful thing about Twitter is that anybody can discover if anybody else is talking about them, if they're paying attention. I was impressed, then, when Janes Family Foods (makers of FlatJacks) tweeted me directly about their crap. They even sent me some coupons so I can fill my belly and my toaster with even more flattened chicken product.

This is happening more and more; two-way communication directly between creators and consumers. This is a key development that's come with the ubiquity of social media: it has created new social interactions where previously there were none.

Example two: in December, a Toronto-based marketing company emailed me out of the blue and offered to loan me a Samsung Galaxy S Captivate phone for no reason1. Samsung probably figured I'd blog or tweet about it, but I never explicitly agreed to that. Rather, they took a risk by sending free shit to someone who seemed well-connected, and hoping it would bleed out to the world naturally as part of my social-media-fueled extended self. Just like what happened with the toaster chicken, but a bit more forced.

It worked though, because here I am blogging about it. Again, mainstream social media has created a new, organic(ish) sort of social interaction that happens to double as marketing.

This isn't just for ├╝ber-famous bloggers like me. Anyone can—and naturally will—get more and more involved with this social media stuff (a.k.a. "the internet"), and this evolution in the way creators interact with customers will continue to involve more and more people. It'll no longer be some corporation tossing their product down to the social masses, but rather the producers will just be another node in the social network.2

LOL... toaster chicken ....

1 Here is a brief review of the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate: Android is pretty wonderful. Its openness and customization options are a breath of fresh air after being stuck in Apple's elegant but restrictive ecosystem for so long. I loved being able to install Grooveshark without hacking the phone (because seriously Apple, fuck you re: that). The Galaxy itself is fine hardware-wise, but we gotta face the fact that most devices are just a big touch screen nowadays, so yeah, it's one of those.

A few deal-breakers would keep me from switching to a Galaxy as my main phone. First, battery life was inconsistent. Sometimes it lasted a few days. Other times it was gone in hours. I'd rather not micromanage applications to find out what caused the difference. Second, it didn't play nice with my MacBook at all. I suppose syncing with my music in iTunes is too much to ask, but I couldn't even drag and drop photos to and from the phone without something going horribly wrong. I hope whoever gets the phone next enjoys the pictures of my trip to Niagara Falls, because I won't be able to. Maybe it was just a faulty phone, but it seemed like it would have been janky even if it functioned properly.

2You may think this is a particularly poisonous node, motivated only by money and self-interest, but really: who isn't? The way I see it, a dickish corporation is no worse than a dickish Facebook friend. There is always the unfriend button.