Monday, 4 March 2013

Sony saving me money

Sony has been quite effective in its effort to make me dislike the company and its products. There was the matter of their CDs planting rootkit attacks; there was their threat of a major lawsuit against Geohot for the crime of being able to hack his own PS3; and there was the matter of them treating my personal details with contempt and thus allowing hackers to put their hands on them when the PlayStation Network was hacked. Now Sony decided to step it up a notch.
Last week, Steven O’Donnell - aka Bajo, a presenter on ABC’s Good Game - twitted about the Sony ad below. He said it’s authentic, and went on to ask for the whereabouts of the version with two dicks:


This ad came at the right time for me. Our second TV’s DVD player has no upscaling and no HDMI; what was once state of the art is now old crap that’s virtually unwatchable to contemporary eyes. Costco came to my rescue, currently running a special on a Sony Blu-ray player, selling it for $80 (JB’s price is $120, Harvey Norman $130).
We were seriously thinking about it; I was already planning my weekend trip to Costco. After this ad? Forget it. I’d get another player instead, eventually. Oh, and with regards to the recently [sort of] revealed PS4? Incompatibility with the PS3 and lack of Kinect equivalency have been telling me already which way the wind is blowing. With this ad, though, Sony has pretty much established my next console would be an Xbox.

As if this matter wasn’t interesting enough already, the Twitter insight gained from the Sony ad story allows for even further social insight.
Immediately following Bajo’s tweet, I twitted my disgust with Sony. Nothing happened. The day later, when we decided not to buy the above mentioned Blu-ray player, I twitted the decision and linked once again to the ad that made the difference. This time the results were different: my tweet was picked up and retweeted by Brendan Molloy, Secretary of the Pirate Party. There on it caught the eye of other activists, some of them of celebrity status with tens of thousands of followers. Thus my tweet had found itself retweeted to an unprecedented audience over several days, reaching potential audiences far in excess of 100,000.
There are several points to take from this story. First, if it is exposure that I seek, then Twitter has the potential to get me several orders of magnitude more than my blogs. Second, to gain the exposure one needs to attract the attention of a celebrity; not so easily done, but achievable (Cory Doctorow retweeted me, and he has almost 300,000 followers). The question is how to get this celebrity attention, and there the question of ethics pops up; it does seem, however, that popping your tweet at the right time of day to catch your target up with is one way of doing so.
I would like to clarify that I never twitted with the intention of my tweet being caught by someone famous in order to achieve fame for myself; it is, however, clear that this is a matter that occupies many. Advertisers and politicians, for a start. It is also a matter that exposes some of the lesser appealing aspects of humanity. Then again, while Twitter glory can be relatively quickly acquired, it will not be long lasting without substantial efforts.


Image: Sony, reproduced here under the understanding copyright law allows analysis and criticism.

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