Social Media: The Next Frontier for Yellow Journalism Embroils Chick-Fil-A, Ford and Celeb Boutique
Looking at it from a marketer's perspective, I find the story both fascinating and frightening. When emotional reactions are removed, there are marketing lessons to be learned. The way that the story evolves from comments to the Baptist Press to a record setting sales day fascinates me. The shutdown of the event page frightens me.
When Dan Cathy stated his views to the Baptist Press, it is unlikely that it would have become a trending topic if GLAAD hadn't challenged them. The group's challenge attracted the attention of politicians who took a stand by saying that the company wasn't welcome in their territories. This moved the debate from marriage rights to freedom of speech and overall American rights. It inspired Mike Huckabee to create a Facebook Event page for Chick-fil-A appreciation day (the third image in the media player).
The events leading up to the Appreciation Day show that having the right people participating in the conversation makes the difference between a blurb on the screen and viral activity. The actions of the people participating in Huckabee's event are a social media game changer. We are accustomed to seeing viral activity in the form of comments, likes, and posts. This is the first time we've seen tens of thousands of people voicing their opinion with their wallets. What began as a protest against the company became an overwhelming show of support in the form of sales.
Facebook's response to the activity on the event page is disturbing. When the show of support by people accepting the invitation began snowballing, the page disappeared for twelve hours.
The disappearance was explained as a technical glitch that triggered a spam alert resulting in the deletion of the page. It left people wondering if it were truly an error or if Facebook is policing content.