Showing posts with label social media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social media. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

If your holiday sucks, I hope you’ll consider letting us know on social media

I hope you have a genuinely lovely holiday, filled with warmth, love, and joy. But if your holiday sucks, I hope you’ll consider letting us know on social media.

The ability of Facebook, et al. to make everybody miserable is well-documented. People present the best versions of themselves on social media, downplaying or completely omitting the negative aspects of their lives and exaggerating the positive aspects. When others compare their lives, warts and all, to the ostensibly perfect lives they see in their News Feed, it compels them to put on a similar fa├žade on their own Facebook page—and the process repeats, assuring a cycle of perpetually stolen joy. It’s not a problem social media created, but, as this short film by the Higton Bros. demonstrates, social media has certainly amplified it.

This is particularly true during the holidays. Posts about perfect families and perfect Christmas trees and perfect gifts are everywhere, and, for the most part, it’s easy enough to contextualize or ignore. But if you’re already feeling down, no matter how often you remind yourself that it’s madness to compare the real you to the fictionalized them, it can be impossibly difficult not to take it all as more evidence of how inadequate your life is.

And while we can all roll our eyes whenever people post stuff that’s obviously hyperbolic (“This is the worst Christmas in the history of humanity!”) or intentionally vague (“I will never forgive you—you know who you are!”) or complainbragging (“Ugh, my new Maserati is such an ugly color”), there’s something to be said about simple, matter-of-fact statements about a holiday that isn’t going so great: This Christmas is a little rough; I’m kind of lonely this time of year; I wish I could’ve afforded better gifts for my family this year.

After all, shared joy is nice enough, but it can be facile and fleeting. It doesn’t require looking beyond oneself, and it doesn’t necessarily engage any empathic impulses. The connections forged from shared joy are often tenuous, which isn’t surprising—I’m doing great and you’re doing great! is pretty hard to sustain, and those connections can break as soon as someone starts feeling less than great.

Shared misery, on the other hand, is a much more powerful force. It requires two people to get out of their own heads, even for just a moment, and extend a bit of kindness to each other. It’s a much more daunting task because it’s hard enough to get a handle on the contours of your own sadness, let alone figure someone else’s out (to misquote Tolstoy badly, happy people are all alike; every unhappy person is unhappy in their own way). But the result of doing so—or at least trying—is a connection that’s predicated on the strength of understanding and selflessness.

That’s kind of heady stuff for social media, so I’ll just say this: People can post whatever they want to post on social media, and they can do so for whatever reason. When people brag about their holidays, I don’t doubt that many of their loved ones will be happy to hear that they’re happy—but because it’s generally easier to be happy for others when you yourself are happy, those loved ones are probably doing okay. On the other hand, for someone who feels alone and isolated, it’d probably mean a lot more to read that they’re not the only ones feeling that way.

In other words, posting about the things that are great will likely make happy people somewhat happier. But posting about the things that aren’t so great could very well make someone feel less lonely and miserable.

I’m not suggesting that everything you post on social media needs to be an act of altruism designed to make everybody feel better. I am, however, saying that you should feel totally free to break the cycle of projecting perfection, if not for your own sake then for the sake of someone who might really need to see it broken.

Monday, August 30, 2010

FedEx’s misleading “Brown Bailout” campaign hits 150,000 Facebook fans

This post originally appeared on my old “Joe Dellosa on Advertising” blog.

► FedEx is bragging about reaching 150,000 “fans” on its Brown Bailout Facebook page, but the comments left by its fans indicate that FedEx is misleading its audience.

Note: This is a follow-up to an Aug. 23 article about FedEx’s “Brown Bailout” campaign, on which the PR agency Burson-Marsteller is working with FedEx.

I don’t mean to beat this story to death—believe me, I’d be pretty pleased if I never have to see or write the word bailout ever again—but here’s a brief follow-up while I’m working on some new articles.

Over the weekend, FedEx’s “Brown Bailout” Facebook page reached 150,000 fans (or, technically, “likes”), and FedEx commemorated the milestone by changing its profile picture (below) and asking its fans to suggest the page to their friends to help FedEx reach 175,000.

As discussed previously, the issue I have with this campaign is that UPS isn’t asking for, nor is it receiving, a bailout. Rather, it’s asking for a change in labor regulations that would bring some of FedEx’s employees under the same unionizing rules as UPS employees—basically, a change that would make it easier for some of FedEx’s employees to unionize.

I have no opinion on the matter, and FedEx is free to make its case as to why the unionizing rules should remain the same. But it should do so honestly—and calling UPS’s lobbying efforts over labor regulations a “bailout” when UPS isn’t asking for taxpayer money, isn’t receiving taxpayer money, isn’t on the brink of bankruptcy or failure, and doesn’t need taxpayer money to stay afloat is dishonest and misleading.

Earlier this month, I asked Maury Lane, director of corporate communications at FedEx, if the average consumer thinks that the word “bailout” can be used so broadly. He replied, “Apparently, 110,000 people get it on Facebook, which, by the way, is a lot.”

It is a lot. So let’s take a look at what some of those people on Facebook are saying; these are actual comments from the Brown Bailout Facebook page posted within the past two weeks.

(While I’ve redacted the last names, I’ve linked each name to the original post on the Brown Bailout Facebook page, where you can see their full names and photos. The links are there merely to prove that they're real posts and not to embarrass the people. Accordingly, please don’t harass the people—although, in the case of Diana and her ethnic slur, it might be tempting.)

Joe F.:

Get your hand out of my pocket mr. government. I can't afford to even go to work anymore. No one is going to bail me out if I spend every thing I don't have and then some. Have you heard about the new Obama Plan at McDonald's - You get to order anything you want and the person behind you gets to pay for it. Go figure.

Terry H.:

when are they going stop lining their pockets with money and screwing the seniors who are more then ups the seniors could help bail out the goverment but they need bail out

Paul S.:

for one. this country needs to stop aiding other countries and start aiding our own. no wonder the economy suks right now because no one trust our government. I certainly dont. stop bailing out rich companies and start helping the small companies that really keep our economy going. We need to stand up as people and fight our government and demand a change because this government is supposed to be run by the people, not the career politicians.

Diana R.:

stop spending money that isnt yours it belongs to we the people and we should be able to vote on the spending so knock it off and if you got rid of all these wetbacks our states wouldnt be in so much debt they break federal laws by crossing the border and they are not just mexicans either and and our government doesnt give a damn like what the hell is wrong with this picture HELLO

Leo C.:

If UPS is not making a profit let them FAIL ... Fed -Ex or someone else will take up the slack it's called CAPITALISM !!!

Gabriel M.:

Fuck bail outs. That's a cover term for, "buy out"... why do you think the banks that were bailed out give foreclosed homes to AIPAC? Bail out = Government ownership of corporation / company.

Kent T.:

What ever happened to the best company wins? Your business doesn't do a good enough job, you don't do as much business. Simple. The taxpayers are fed up with bailing all these companies out. Quit handing out checks at the taxpayers expense, Gubment.

Betty D.:


Kevin G.:

It's not fair for taxpayer's to constantly fund these sort of remedial support.

Wanda E.:

I'm sick of the bailouts and if companies can't make it on their own, which includes ups then they can just go bottoms up for all I care.

Tyrone S.:

I always thought that in a capitalist country if your business failed or if you didn't make enough money to keep it afloat you went out of business none of this bail-out crap. If you want to bail out someone bail out the millions of people that have lost their jobs when their company closed or moved off shore.

Judy H.:


Angela J.:

Good grief! More abuse of our tax dollars! Every time I blink I open my eyes to find more corruption.

Lourdes N.:


Daniel R.:

No more bailouts!!! Succeed or fail on your own merits. That's the way the founders intended this country to be, and it's the only way it works! GOD Bless America!!!

While there are comments on the Facebook page that seem to at least understand that the issue is over labor regulations, the above comments—and the tons more like them on the Facebook page—are not the words of people who understand how FedEx is using (or misusing) the word “bailout.” It’s clear they believe UPS is failing, needs taxpayer money to stay afloat, or is taking taxpayer money. That’s not an accident, either—those are exactly the ideas that come to mind when you accuse a company of asking for a “bailout.”

If FedEx were so sure that its Brown Bailout fans would still be supportive of its cause if they had all the facts, it wouldn’t mind correcting these (very frequent) misconceptions whenever they pop up on its Facebook page, or posting a clarification. That FedEx isn’t correcting these misconceptions at all shows that it’s fine with the misinformation it’s helping spread.

More strikingly, FedEx is betraying a very contemptuous attitude towards its consumers by allowing them to make fools of themselves on its behalf. Bragging about reaching 150,000 fans is just rubbing it in.

If FedEx has anything resembling respect for its customers, the American public, or even just intellectual honesty, it should knock this nonsense off now.

You can email me at The next articles, which I promise are coming soon, deal with sexism and smoking—in other words, a fun change of pace!