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Nadworny: Angry People

10/26/10 7:55AM By Rich Nadworny
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(HOST) Commentator Rich Nadworny has been listening to a lot of conversations online. And what he hears is a lot of angry people.

(NADWORNY)  A few weeks ago The Gap decided it was time to update its logo. I'm not quite sure why they felt the need to make the change. Their stock price is back up to where it was several years ago, after reaching a new low last year. It seems like sales have trended upwards during the last year, too. Maybe someone in the marketing department felt bored. In any case, the Gap announced it was time to move on from its iconic Gap on Blue Square logo to something "new" and "modern."

And boy, did that get the crowd angry. People hated it. They screamed to high heaven online and created spoof sites for people to make their own fake Gap-like logo. Within a week, the Gap folded like a cheap pair of pants and pulled the new logo. They had "heard" the message and, like a modern social media savvy company, they listened and acted.

"There may be a time to evolve our logo," they said, "but if and when that time comes, we'll handle it in a different way."

Funny, the same thing happened to juice-maker Tropicana when they redesigned their logo and packaging. People on Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else went bonkers. Tropicana, like Gap, went back to the old look and feel.

Power to the people, right? A shift of control to the consumer, as promised. Social media to the rescue, it seems.

Which raises the question: Does social media only work in the negative? Is it a tool to make someone stop doing something, rather than to help someone do something differently? Is it only a source of complaints rather than one of positive construction?

The positive side is pretty light.  Raising money seems to be the most positive action we can compel people to take and even then, to only a limited extent.

Politically we're living through this as well. The Tea Party has, as one of its core reasons for being, a very valid complaint that working people lost their homes while we saved the jobs of the Wall Street bankers holding their mortgages - and who got huge bonuses to boot. This makes people so angry that they want to tear down the whole system.

And social media has become a critical tool in the Tea Partiers' success. It's a perfect way for them to harness the rage, to get people to the polls and to force out incumbent politicians. And while the act of voting is good, it seems to me that they're not really using social media to create something new or positive. They're using it as a vehicle for mass complaining, instead.

You know, I like to complain as much as the next guy. More, actually. But I worry that all of this yelling and negativity will ruin the social media party - and turn the wisdom of crowds into something else - the anger of mobs.
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