The Word is Discrimination!
We hear this word at least daily in our lives in some form of media. Discrimination. We hear this word on the radio, we see it on television, we hear it in the news, we read it in the papers, we discuss it amongst our friends and co-workers. Therefore, would it surprise you to know that social media contests discriminate quite freely all the time.
Discriminations based on our age, based on our country of residence, based on our voters and certain statements they must make in order for you to win. The list goes on and on and on. Yet we continuously allow companies on social media to push us. We are the contesters, but we are also consumers with a huge social impact. Just think abou it, the average social contester networks at least 2-6 hours per day on twitter, youtube, facebook, blog posts, websites, forums, etc. Our friends lists encompass a wide variety of ethnicities and backgrounds. Our friends lists also incorporate a diverse range of economic backgrounds. Yet daily we put up with it. Why?
Our Social Impact and Why Companies Should Listen
As we interact with others, we create a sense of security with others and with ourselves. Consider it a bubble. If the bubble bursts, rules change, friends come and go. We begin to feel alienated and isolated. Sometimes instead of being the leader we become the follower. It is contests like these which tend to find these people, like lambs to slaughter, beckoning them to their page with wonderful treats. Yet outside of the bubble sits others who are anxious to get into the bubble, but find they can’t.
They are the ones who have been kicked to the curb. Kicked because they live outside the age demographics, they live in the wrong areas, they work at the wrong jobs, etc. The problem being these companies tend to forget that people like me, who have and utilize networks of people from all over the country can actually help them. It only takes one person like me to create influence. It takes a second to start a trend and it takes a third to become a social network. If companies take us lightly we can show them by reminding them on their walls. State our opinions, make our beliefs and issues known. It is only through our willpower will companies start to take notice and listen to us. After all we are the consumer.
Example 1 – Worth Ave Group
A couple of months ago, I entered into a contest. It was a referral contest that I did for a friend. Worth Ave Group. I went to the page, liked it and wrote so and so sent me here. I then sent out a message to my friends who also liked the page. It was for a U.S. company who’s page said they do worldwide insurance coverage so I thought great. That means I’m eligible. So a lot of friends of mine from Canada headed South through Facebook and liked the page.
The next day, I go to check on the ipad status and I find I can’t see the page. It has been blocked. I asked my friends in Canada and they too said the same thing. Next I asked my friend from the U.S. about it and she said works no problem. So I called the company directly and said you have a problem with your page. It isn’t letting Canadians like it. A few more emails back and forth with postings on their wall from my US friend and it was opened again.
Apparently as this company said, their contest is only open to US shipping addresses. So I came back and replied, “Great I have three addresses then”. Next thing my comment is deleted. It is this type of bias that will make or break a company on social media. These companies forget that Facebook and other social media like twitter do not have border guards.. There is no jurisdiction that says you need a passport or a visa to come and like this page. In fact, had I mentioned something, I am sure a majority of the friends I sent, plus a few that others had sent would have unliked the page for me. My argument was that if they are open to sell insurance worldwide, why can they not ship a prize to Canada?
Example 2 – The Trip for Those Only Under a Certain Age
Another example is the classic voyage trip. I had a friend in the US who was competing for a trip for 2 to some exotic location. My friend happened to be in his sixties. The only problem was he didn’t read the rules properly and he had to be under the age of 39 I believe it was. Regardless, my friend dropped out of this contest. However, did you know that seniors are by far the biggest cruise customers? Strange that they would reject a big portion of the population for the sake of a few. I shake my head at this one and dollar signs are floating them by.
Example 3 – Only for Farmers and Those Who Work on a Farm
Still one more weird example. A contest recently in Canada I wanted to enter was show us your truck. I don’t remember the exact contest name, but as you all know I am a truck driver and I drive daily. The problem was this was a contest for farmers. You had to live on a farm and drive or show a picture of your grain truck. The prize by the way was a $100,000 Brand New grain Truck.
So I wrote to the sponsor and asked them why are you discriminating against me? I drive a truck. Just because I don’t live on a farm? I am waiting for word from their corporate lawyers on this one and by the time they hum and haw over the facts, the contest will be over and I will not see a new truck. If most of you are not aware, trucks are very expensive. Had I won this truck, I would have traded for a used highway truck so I could become an owner/operator for the first time in my life instead of a company driver. Yes I am sorely disappointed in that.
Example 4 – Say it, This Way Please, You Mindless Zombie!
Recently, I had another friend who referred me to her comment section. So I went to the picture and first liked the sponsor, then I liked the picture and then I made a comment for my friend. I said so and so sent me. So I get an email back and asked, can you redo it and say this. So I went back, deleted my previous comment and said what the person wanted me to say, except I missed one word. Again a few minutes later, I get another pop up chat, okay, can you change it and add this word.
By this time, I was getting a little peeved and apparently I was not the only one having trouble with this. So again I went back to the comments and had to rewrite it exactly as I was told. My opinion on this? Is there no such thing as free speech? Would my comments that so and so sent me or if I left one word out of a sentence, is my friend condemned? It was so insulting that every person sent to the page had to say the exact same thing like we were mindless zombies.
What Can You Do?
The people who create contests are just people. They tend to make decisions based on what they may perceive to be the right way. As we all know, things can be changed, and sometimes things have to change. If you find yourself in this position where you feel that you are being discriminated against, take up a cause and argue with them.
Don’t accept their position because it sometimes always isn’t right. As we have seen, voting contests suddenly turn into random draws. If enough people stick up for each other, things will and do change.
It is also a matter of principal. We are the consumers. We are the deciding factors. Companies can be made or broken by the words and the quality of friends we have. Call the company, write emails, post messages on their walls. Regardless of what you do, make sure you have the facts and be prepared to present your case where the public community can see it and base their own decisions too. Whatever you choose, remember to have fun, enter lots of contests and enjoy yourself. Thanks for reading!
Other Interesting Posts:
5 Ways to Get Disqualified from Sweepstakes
Contest Friends – Who Can You Trust?
Contesting – Keep it Healthy