It's me, your best friend, Arby's!
October 28, 2021 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Looking for smart writing (journalistic, think piece, academic, you tell me) about the "friendification" of corporate social media.

Corporations crackin jokes, making memes, dissing each other, being, I guess, "friendly" online. Why do corporations think we want this content? When did it start? Has it changed over time? Does it actually work? What should I be reading on this topic? What are the "classic examples of the genre"?

Thanks hivemind, you have never steered me wrong yet.
posted by athirstforsalt to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sarah Z explores some aspects of this in her video The Late Capitalism of Fast Food Twitter.
posted by Pwoink at 7:27 AM on October 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Kara Swisher interviewed, on one of her podcasts, the guy who writes for Arby's (I think...maybe Wendy's...all corporate meat variation sales kind of blur to me). Everything is based on a social media cost of entry matrix. How much $$ to get the kinds of views and go viral and not be deeply alienating. That's it, really. A PR team created the plan. So: which social media platform, writing character development that dug into tone, responsiveness based on platform, how far to the edge was the brand comfortable with.

So, non-organic. Not rogue. Not some recent grad sitting there going off while all the executives are asleep. A plan to capture a slice of viral content, on an expected timetable, on targeted social media platforms.
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:42 AM on October 28, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I found this piece on the evolution of Arby's voice -- the strategy shifted in 2014 when they tweeted to Pharrell Williams about his very large Grammys hat -- and which also talks about how some other fast food chains shifted to a conversational voice (like Chipotle) or even faux-trolling (Wendy's tweets to McDonalds).

And then there's this, from Delish: "When Did Food Companies’ Social Media Get So...Weird?". This one is great, really quite interesting with a lot of examples from different corporate social media accounts.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:04 AM on October 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In terms of its origins, I wonder if it started with “wackaging” as firms tried to develop an alternative and more personal voice through the written words on their products. This article is UK-focused but locates the origins of that in the late 90s and early 2000s. As firms developed a social media presence it would have been a fairly natural progression to adopt that voice there, too.
posted by greycap at 10:24 AM on October 28, 2021

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