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  • The Precision of Social Media

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    Posted on April 18, 2012 at 9:47 am

    The Three StoogesLast night, four stooges, friends of mine, collided to see the early show of The Three Stooges. Expectations were low to non-existent, although The Times gave the show a passing grade. Me, I always hated The Three Stooges. But during the film, we were alternately rolling our eyes and doubled over in laughter.  You could map our enjoyment on a sine curve. Later at dinner, the waitress asks us how we liked the show. I thought for a second and said, “I’d give it a 73 on the Tomatometer.” We discussed this among ourselves a minute or so and all agreed that 73% was right on target. (Okay, we’re easy.  Rotten Tomatoes scores the film at 42%. If women have weighed in, those votes should be discounted since this is a film for boys—not men—boys! Nor is it a film that film critics should attend. It’s the Three Stooges, for heaven’s sakes.)

    The larger point of this rant is two-fold:

    1) This type of polling that is becoming so common across the Internet in a wide variety of categories gives emotions a precise calibration. In an era of Big Data, we suddenly have a way of evaluating brand through, essentially, crowd sourcing. Branders are probably afraid of this but, in fact, we should embrace it. For example, how did you like the webinar? Rate it for us and give us your reviews so it can be improved. Engagement and listening, both at once.

    2) This type of polling is also unfair and is, like all polls, a gross tool that delivers a single data point where many data points would be preferred. For example, take The Three Stooges. Larry David, 93%. The schtick on the triple tandem bike, 100%. The Young Stooges, 22%. You get the picture. Or perhaps you should see it for yourself.



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Burkey Belser

Burkey Belser

Burkey Belser, president and creative director, pioneered legal services marketing. He has been quoted on brand design topics by dozens of industry publications and is highly rated as a speaker on topics from branding to information design.