Social Experiment: Gone right or horribly wrong?

Social media is all about grabbing opportunities or making them. Largely on capitalising, though. See some trend, ride on it. See an opening, bombard it and make it count.

And when you work on a brand that allows humourous content, you’ve hit the motherland. Almost every happening is an opportunity for a punch-line. And whether the punch is graceful or below the belt… It’s bound to hurt someone or the other.

When you start living your job, you pick up on (or enhance) some traits in your personal life as well. That’s always been the case for me. Only recently a friend shared a dramatic image. Him posing in a tranquil environment. Now where others saw beauty in the image, I saw an opportunity. I thought if i started a trend, how far would it spread?

So I came up with a punch-line. I decided to make a list of things that could be photoshopped into the image. With the amount of pointless acts going viral on the internet, had I shared the ideas in forums or places like ‘reddit’I only wonder what shape it could’ve taken. It didn’t go that far. I didn’t have to. But it did manage to cross some lines-

So I made a list, then I decided to execute them. A couple of our mutual friends who are also interested punch-lining and opportunity grabbing, rode the wave and decided to have a few jabs as well.

Funnily the idea, when it started off, was harmless. And slightly funny, even to the involved individual. But when people started noticing and responding to it and giving it the attention it probably didn’t deserve; the guy got offended.

From laughing it off. It came down to ‘you crossed the line’. Now, you cannot control everything online. Unless it’s damage. That you can control. I hid the album for only the contributors and the involved person to see it. The damage had been done, but I made sure the fire didn’t spread.

The friend who eventually felt he was made the butt of all jokes, reached out to me and told me I crossed the line. He was mature enough to tell me that ‘my stupidity’ shouldn’t cause ‘bitterness into the friendship’. But somewhere within I knew I’ve lost him. He was reasonably and rightfully upset.

But what I noticed is that he didn’t mind or care about it when it started off. He seemed to have lost it when it kicked off and garnered a lot more attention than expected.

That’s the same with brands. You spark something, then people will take it lightly (no pun intended). But once people join in and help make the spark grow into a flame is when you face the heat (definite pun intended).

Learning: It’s not those who fuel the fire that are always blamed. It’s the one who sparked the flame that faces the heat.

Boy, I’ve lost so many friends to social experiments. Sorry, man!


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