Now, I know this topic isn’t exactly about politics, but bear with me, as I think this is a good example of one of the dangers of social media.Air New Zealand made the following tweet just before lunch time on Monday.
— Air New Zealand (@FlyAirNZ) February 9, 2014
Looks innocent right?
It is, until you find out that they are looking for volunteer writers, but they are looking for people who are willing to write stories to the quality level needed for a major international airlines publications for nothing.
Now this is an ongoing issue in the creative industries, where the work of creatives is undervalued/not valued at all. Many creatives get their starts by doing work for free/below cost. But this normally happens by people pitching an idea or a story to the publication, who if they pick it up, will pay the creator. It may not be the going rate, but it is something and more work usually follows.
However, in this case it looks like AirNZ are looking for volunteers who will produce on going, top quality work for their publications. This is pretty much the most blatant rights grab I have seen, and I have seen a few in the photography world. Normally they are associated with competitions.
Back story over, now on to the social media aspect. This whole idea first cropped up on Twitter. As can be imagined, their mentions feed is full of people attacking them. They tweeted around 2 hours after their initial tweet saying:
We’ve heard your feedback re The Flying Social Network contributors. We’ll re-think our approach & come up with appropriate compensation.
— Air New Zealand (@FlyAirNZ) February 10, 2014
40+ Min after this, the page about it is still an active link. The times in the top right of those screen grabs are NZ local time.
Air NZ made a pre tax profit of $256m for the 2013 financial year, yet they are trying to scrimp and save money by exploiting creatives. Twitter has reacted swiftly and has forced Air NZ to make a change.
One of the strengths of social media is the ability for crowds to very quickly form around issues that people are invested in. This can be a positive for corporates or political parties if the idea or policy is taken positively, but can also be a major risk if they are not. Twitter is a great example of crowding source intelligence and the ability to get mass amounts data and documents found and read quickly. As the election year rolls on there will be more and more policy announcements coming. Parties need to understand that there will be those on twitter, and other social media, who will go digging and look for all the flaws in the policy or it’s announcement. This means parties need to take the role of opposition research seriously, they need to have people in house who they trust to sit there and rip apart the policy, the policy documents, the planning and execution of the announcement. These people need to be able to speak freely and frankly. They also need to be listened too. It may just be the policy wonks on each side who read the documents to start with, but social media has the ability for those comments to spread far and wide very quickly. This speed is evident for positive comments, but even more so for negative ones.
Also, if you promise to pull or change something, do it. As at 1508 the initial page on their The Flying Social Media page is still live, it is just not linked from their front page any more.