The Power of the Short Attention Span


What?  Totally!  Huh?  What?  Totally?  Huh?

"What? Totally! Huh? What? Totally? Huh?"

The biggest weapon for corporations battling against bad publicity on social media channels might be time.

A strategy of patience.  Just wait it out.

Because it appears as if they won’t have to wait that long.  Call it the Power of the Short Attention span.  Consumers – especially American consumers – get distracted easily.  How can you blame them?  With our always-on, 24/7 news cycle it’s difficult to focus on one story.  Or for a story to have sustainability pass a couple of days.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately depending on where you sit on the issue ) the lasting effect of bad publicity on social networks appears to be brief.

Case in point: Dave Carroll vs. United Airlines.

Carroll, a singer and songwriter from Canada, was traveling with his band when they saw United Airlines’ ground crew tossing around their luggage.  Carroll’s Taylor guitar fell out the case and the neck snap.  Carroll had to pay $1,200 to get it fixed.  Naturally, he wanted United to reimburse him.  After more than a year of bickering, United refused.  So Carroll and his band Sons of Maxwell wrote a song and shot a video called “United Breaks Guitars.”

The video went viral.  Carroll became an immediate celebrity and social media folk hero.  The story was covered by just about every mainstream media outlet – from the New York Times to CNN.  You can read the full story here.

Carroll warned United Airlines that the video was the first of a trilogy – which at the time of the first video (back in July) seemed to spell doom for United.

After all, that first video, dubbed “United Breaks Guitars,” racked up more than 5,480,000 views.  More than 35,407 people took the time to rate the video and 22,103 people left comments behind.  A staggering amount.

But then the Power of the Short Attention Span hit.  The second video, called “United Breaks Guitars Song 2,” has generated 353,997 views.  Still a large audience, but under the circumstances (and expectations) an enormous disappointment and a drop off of 15X in audience.  The second video was covered by few in the mainstream media.  The other numbers saw drastic decreases as well.  Just 3,387 people rated the second video and only 1,719 made comments.  If Dave Carroll was starring in a sitcom – it probably would have been canceled.

Will there be a third video?  And, if there is, will anybody care?  Including United Airlines?

And most important of all – what do you think?

Posted via email from HighTalk on Posterous

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