Ask the Crowd! Group action “Likes” are raging across the social networks

08.03.2013
It was cute when it started off: The Cordell children from Boston really wanted a little puppy. Their father, Ryan, agreed that another family member would be added, if they got a million Likes on Facebook. He set up the “twogirlsandapuppy” page on Facebook where the two sisters posed for a picture holding a sign displaying the agreement. It took just seven hours until a million Facebook users helped to make the children’s wish come true and “Millie” (called after the million likes) was brought home. This action not only caused a stir for the family, but it was also great publicity for both Facebook and the Animal Rescue Organisation “North Shore Animal League”, who provided the puppy.

This highly successful action, which received nearly 2.7 million Likes, was not the first of its kind, but definitely got the most attention. In 2012, a 7-year-old got a kitten from his parents after obtaining 1000 Likes. In 2011 an ambitious uncle started an action on Facebook to get a million Likes for his sister to name her baby Megatron. Of course, the follow-up actions didn’t take very long either. A Norwegian collected Likes to sleep with his best girlfriend, a German voluntary assistant wanted to be the Boss for a day, a TV team wanted either free beer or a free day on Carnival Monday, and children begged to go to Disneyland … and hundreds of other actions.

The “Crowd” has not only become an international and global networking site that spreads information, maintains contacts, and even provides companies with publicity stunts, but it has also developed into a pressure and decision-making tool.

At some stage, we will have seen enough of these types of actions and they could then be rejected, rather than supported. Counter-actions such as “My aunt from Wuppertal says that when we get 1 million Likes the stupid and meaningless “When we get X Likes” signs will finally disappear! The “HELP US!!!” stunts have been drawing more attention, but the trend of unleashing the Crowd as a bargaining and marketing tool with this Begging for Likes will probably follow us around for a while. The question is whether such begging actions could destroy charity campaigns that need Likes and if companies that buy Likes will experience a boom. Of course, there are hundreds of sweet stories about small children and animals outsmarting Daddy – especially in the present days of social media networking to attract attention and find the next brainwave. However, such non-strategies go out of fashion fast and often backfire on the profile owner or company.

Recently, a new trend appeared on the scene: Companies trying to get as many comments in the least time possible to increase the hit rates of their web pages. Radio Vest, for example, is calling for users to constantly post comments, and even paying users to do it. They even started some strange spam actions on their own homepage, which could constitute a violation of the Facebook terms and conditions.